Saudi Arabia deports 60,000 foreigners in crackdown on illegals

By AFP
Published: November 20, 2013
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Illegal migrants wait with their belongings under police watch to be transferred by police buses on November 13, 2013 to a center in the capital Riyadh ahead of their deportation. PHOTO: AFP

Illegal migrants wait with their belongings under police watch to be transferred by police buses on November 13, 2013 to a center in the capital Riyadh ahead of their deportation. PHOTO: AFP

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has deported more than 60,000 illegal foreign workers in a crackdown over the past fortnight and more are set to follow, Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef said Tuesday.

Police have rounded up tens of thousands of people for deportation since an amnesty for foreign workers to regularise their status expired on November 4.

The campaign has “so far led to the deportation of more than 60,000 violators of the residency and labour system, while procedures are ongoing to deport others,” state news agency SPA quoted Prince Mohammed as saying.

“The campaign will continue… and is not limited to a timeframe,” he added.

Nearly a million migrants, including Bangladeshis, Filipinos, Indians, Nepalis, Pakistanis and Yemenis among them – took advantage of the amnesty to leave voluntarily.

Another four million were able to find employers to sponsor them, a legal requirement in Saudi Arabia as in several other Gulf states.

The Pakistani foreign office had said last week that as many as 54,000 Pakistanis were in the process of resolving their status.

The crackdown on illegals has been marred by clashes that killed four people earlier this month, according to Saudi authorities.

The Ethiopian embassy said three of its nationals had died in clashes.

Among those considered illegal are foreigners who have overstayed their visas, pilgrims who have sought jobs, and migrants seeking work other than for their sponsor.

Expatriates account for a full nine million of the oil-rich kingdom’s population of 27 million.

Despite its huge oil wealth, Saudi Arabia has a jobless rate of more than 12.5 per cent among its citizen population, a figure the government has long sought to cut.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Azi
    Nov 20, 2013 - 3:04AM

    Yes, I would very much love to see these Arabs esp Saudis get off their high horses and go work as a plumber, carpenter, mason, etc and realize the hard and back breaking work done by the poor souls which turned the once barren KSA into a jewel, for a moment until it is again ruined by the “wise” locals.

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  • Fareed
    Nov 20, 2013 - 4:46AM

    Well done Saudis – deport them all!

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  • Realist
    Nov 20, 2013 - 12:01PM

    @Azi:

    Ah. Dude, they are illegals. Illegal = staying there without a VISA.

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  • Dec 1, 2013 - 12:16AM

    strong text@Realist:
    YEAH YEAH YEAH

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  • Dec 2, 2013 - 4:27PM

    So there is a definition of illegal worker or are they just “undocumented”?Recommend

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